Liam Brynes crazy-juggling

Mark Ferguson writes on LabourList that a benefits cap is a good idea but not if it includes Housing Benefit. Liam Bryne seems to be attempting a similar kind of crazy-juggling, on the one hand saying Labour won’t vote against the cap but will introduce amendments a go-go to this dreadful piece of legislation.

All well and good you might argue. Nuanced and sensible. This illusion lasts till you realise that the benefits cap itself is a utterly worthless piece of legislation unless Housing Benefit is included in the cap.

Who on this earth is going to make £26,000 a year on Job Seekers Allowance, for example? You get roughly £65 a week on JSA – so you’d have to defy the laws of basic mathematics to even worry 10 k let-alone 26. Listen carefully, for I will say this only once – the whole point of the benefits cap is to cap Housing Benefit. So, saying you support the cap but not the HB element is a position that is to be utterly blind to the logical implications of what your actually saying.

Housing Benefit is well known to take up the biggest slice of the welfare cake. Its a cost the government could reduce massively by capping private rents and building some more homes. This is what I like to call a win-win. Families get homes, the government rakes in more tax from the jobs etc created – the only people who lose are parasitic landlords. A policy that drives down rents and creates a greater supply of cheaper and affordable housing would also benefit the working poor.

If Labour is serious about opposing these reckless changes it will have to vote against the benefit cap in its entirety. In its execution it will be as shambolic as the equally barking cap on immigration and its our poorest that will suffer the most.

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About darrellgoodliffe

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